For the last five years, Thanksgiving has been hosted at my house and we have a routine down pat. I cook everything but the turkey in advance. We go to a Smithsonian museum from 10 to 2, having lunch in the museum dining room. As soon as we get home I finish the dinner and we feast by 7.
The next day we loll around playing board games, watching movies and NOT shopping.
My favorite recipe is Pumpkin Bread Pudding. I never tried bread pudding before I was 35. Now I regret the 35 wasted years of not eating bread pudding. I suppose I thought it would be some soggy, spongy mess cobbled from stale leftovers. Why was I never told that it is the perfect comfort food? It has everything I like: seasonal spices, the best of everything bready, and an optional custard sauce that takes it over the top.
My kids like cooking with me, so he made a practice run bread pudding for Thanksgiving. This is made with regular bread in a seasoned pumpkin mixture, not bread where a main ingredient is pumpkin, if that helps. Pumpkin bread-pudding, not pumpkin-bread pudding.
- 1 loaf of good bread, cubed. About 9 cups of bread cubes
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can unseasoned pumpkin puree. About 16 oz.
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
Put the cubed bread in the biggest mixing bowl you have. Seriously, the biggest.
Put all the other ingredients in a different mixing bowl and whisk together.
Pour egg and cream mixture, over the cubed bread. Blend gently with a large spoon until all the bread is well-coated with the liquids.
Pour into a large rectangular baking dish that has been coated with non-stick spray.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 72 hours.
Pop into pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
This is amazing topped with caramel sauce, a homemade custard sauce, or with really good vanilla ice cream.
Options and recommendations: I usually make my own challah for this, but I have also used sandwich bread. Here I’m using a boule of King’s Hawaiian bread, because it has a great texture and is lightly sweet—perfect for bread pudding.
If you don’t have the individual spices, you could substitute a pumpkin pie spice blend, I guess, if you insist.
For dairy-free, substitute a non-dairy cream. I especially like So Delicious coconut creamer. Since it is lightly sweetened, use less brown sugar.
For gluten-free, make or buy a medium-sized loaf of gluten-free bread. I think a loaf of Udi’s white sandwich bread would work fine.
For vegan, use an egg substitute you would normally use for binding baked goods: EnerG egg replacer, or even baking powder and oil. I have a handy chart of vegan baking substitutions pinned on Pinterest, if you need that.
My daughters and I made this bread pudding as part of the Food Lion Holiday Bake-Off. The bake-off starts tomorrow, November 17, and ends November 28.
Enter your favorite holiday recipe in one of four categories: appetizer, entrée, side dish, or dessert. Twelve grand-prize winners will each receive a $500 Food Lion gift card.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Food Lion. I received a promotional item to facilitate my shopping experience and review.